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  • listen2leslie

Just stop

To whom it may concern,

With all due respect… you have NO IDEA what living in this beautiful brown skin is like. You cannot judge the response and reaction of our pain. You have no right to tell us how to express that pain.

Do you think it’s reasonable that we would consult with you first to ascertain the proper and approved methods to exercise our civil rights? You think we should just be silent, carry a sign or two, wear an arm band instead of kneel, etc. Nothing that we do is ever good enough for you!

Imagine telling a battered woman not to shout about how you broke her jaw, blackened her eye, cracked her rib. Don’t scream, don’t cry, get over it, you made me do it. I control you. I own you. You have no voice in this house. This is MY house. And you will do what I tell you to do, how I tell you to do it. Now get up off the floor, fix your face, go make my dinner…and you better do it with a smile.

LISTEN! When you hurt someone over and over and over again, eventually they will break. And you don’t get to dictate what that looks like! When someone punches us in the gut, are we not allowed to scream OUCH? Are we not allowed to KNEEL? Are we not allowed to even feel? We are told to “get over it” and to “move on.” Seriously?

This is classic gaslighting. The ones inflicting the pain blame the victims for their outbursts. We aren’t allowed to speak or act for fear of retribution. Then we have to deal with violent threats from someone who SHOULD be a voice of unity but instead is calling us THUGS! Really?!

Because most know me as a mother of African-American males, I’m often contacted by my white friends and acquaintances who empathize with the pain of my people. I am touched by their passion for our plight, and I love them for the hope that they give me that not ALL white people hate us. You know who you are and I appreciate you more than you know!

But for the rest of you, I ask what is it going to take for you to see what’s happening here? Those of you who call yourselves Christians, when are you going to actually practice what you preach and follow the example of our Savior? Where is your compassion? Where is your love? Where is your action against the satanic forces that are at the root of racism? Please stop looking for flimsy excuses to explain it away. It’s not okay!

The beautiful Black men pictured above are my family. They are my heart and soul. They are peaceful law-abiding citizens. They are loving, funny, smart. They are husbands, fathers, best friends. They are creative and innovative. They are not a threat to anyone. All of their teachers loved them. They’ve brought joy and purpose to my life.

They slow down when they see a squirrel in the road to give him a chance to decide which way to go. They reach into their pockets to give money to those in need when they encounter them on the street. They are human beings. They have feelings.

They also have a bunch of friends who are just like them. And, none of them deserve what happened to George Floyd. None of them deserve what happened to Breonna Taylor. None of them deserve what happened to Ahmaud Arbery. NO ONE DESERVES THAT!

They deserve to breathe the same air that you breathe. They deserve to live in a world where justice is equally applied regardless of their skin color. They deserve safety as they jog through neighborhoods, as they drive their cars, as they sit in their own homes minding their own business!

So, those of you who sit in the comfortable seat of privilege, I ask you to listen to Black voices when we shout. Have empathy for our tears when we cry. Help us change the laws that have allowed our men to be killed with impunity since the day our ancestors set foot on this land. Stand up for us when your friends place the value of property above the value of human life. Stop racism in its tracks. Stop police brutality. Stop killing Black men. Just stop!


Your Sister in Christ